The Slatest

Betsy DeVos Nomination in Some Trouble as Collins, Murkowski Bail

Betsy DeVos testifies during her confirmation on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17.

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Update, 5 p.m.: A Pat Toomey spokeswoman says he supports DeVos’ confirmation. Nevada’s Dean Heller is also sticking to the party line. No word yet from Arizona Republican and self-styled maverick Jeff Flake.

Original post, 3:22 p.m.: Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced this afternoon on the floor of the Senate that they would not vote to confirm secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos. With 52 Republicans in the Senate, DeVos can only now count on 50 votes and is thus subject to seeing her nomination die if any more defectors emerge.


DeVos, an heiress and Republican donor who has never attended or had a child in public school, seemed poorly informed about several basic public-education issues during her confirmation hearing.


Murkowski mentioned in her floor speech that she had received “thousands” of anti-DeVos calls from constituents. Collins has also reportedly received many such calls.

The question, of course, is whether any more defectors will emerge. One purple-state senator who’d been considered a potential DeVos wobbler is Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey. But:

So … we’ll see!